The relationship between working out and lowered depression and anxiety is not exactly breaking news: Ample research supports the idea that sweating it out could bring you some peace of mind. And now a new study found that not only does working out help to alleviate negative feelings, it also might increase your happiness—and just 10 minutes of exercise a week is required to start feeling the mood-boosting benefits.
Just 10 minutes of exercise a week is required to start feeling the mood-boosting benefits of working out.
Published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, the meta-study used 23 previously published studies and their corresponding data sets to look for a relationship between getting your sweat on and improving your mood. Ultimately, it found a strong connection between activeness and happiness. “Very active” people were 52 percent more likely to be happy, those categorized as “sufficiently active” were 30 percent more likely, and those deemed “insufficiently active” were 20 percent more likely, Newsweek reported.
Although there wasn’t a specific type of exercise found to be the most mood-boosting, the researchers did find that 10 minutes of activity a week was enough to increase your positive vibes. The happiness-enhancing effects do, however, hit a ceiling: Exercising for more than 150 to 300 minutes (two and a half to five hours) a week didn’t make any difference to happiness levels. And you can make your workout extra-beneficial for your health by lifting weights, since research shows that strength training just twice a week cuts your early-death risk in half.
One notable issue with the parameters of this study is the subjective measure of happiness: a combination of participants’ health as well as their social life. Second, causality can’t be proved either way, meaning that being happy could cause people to work out more, rather than the opposite.
“It could be that people who are happy for all kinds of reasons, such as having good jobs or lots of money, have the means to do more exercise or afford a gym membership,” Sarita Robinson, PhD, a professor of psychology at the UK’s University of Central Lancashire, told Newsweek. “Also, when we are down or depressed, we are less likely to exercise and have a reduced desire to move in general.”
But in all fairness, there isn’t exactly a downside to working out (unless you seriously overdo it). After all, the practice can help improve self-control and eye health, just to name a few of its numerous health benefits. And at 10 minutes a pop, that sweat sesh time can go a long way.
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